macgyver Look, let’s get one thing straight about social recruiting.

Social recruiting is one approach, not a strategy in itself. It’s a tool. Think of it like the paper-clip and toothpick approach to thwarting your nemesis, not using a gun – MacGyver style.  It will never be the end-all-be-all, check-list then hire tool most “thought leaders” make it out to be. Social recruiting is a method for building your network and for connecting with great ideas to improve your own recruiting strategy. It’s for gaining attention, not replacing strategies that work.

As a marketer living in a recruiter’s world I’ve tested this theory for myself, with budgets ranging from $0 to well over $100,000 in my own recruiting projects, of sorts – sourcing caregivers looking for work and job seekers to post their resumes. I learned a few lessons really quickly that every recruiter should know before starting any focused social recruiting plan.

Lessons learned:

  1. It’s a waste of money to buy anything for impressions or views in a social media world.
  2. At least 40% of every social media site, if not more, are spam accounts in the first place.
  3. Driving a social action is more important than anything.
  4. Conversation drives results, not community size.
  5. It doesn’t work for everyone.

So what does that mean for recruiting?

  1. Pay only for clicks, likes or comments. Things that show someone paid attention for at least one second.
  2. You must target a group. Don’t try to reach everyone or you’ll waste money on fake accounts.
  3. Clicking the mouse is the most important thing a candidate you don’t know can do.
  4. Five people who have a daily conversation about things that are important and will say nice things about you are better than 5000 who ignore you.
  5. Pretty self explanatory…

Is social recruiting always scalable? No.

Is it still worth your time? Maybe. You have to try to know.

Paper Clip + Duct Tape: MacGyver’s Social Recruiting Hacks


So how do you put those lessons into action? How do you take the MacGyver approach instead of joining in with the bad guys who just tweet jobs every day?

Here are a few simple ideas and tests you can use to to hack your way to first, figuring out if social recruiting is worth your time and second, to create scalable, smart strategies to building a viable plan. Yes, I said scalable and viable. That’s marketing speak for “works really well.”

  1. Buy some ads. I’m talking about a $100 budget, nothing crazy. Then follow this ad buying for recruiting strategy. In short – always target small, not large. I know it feels counterintuitive to the traditional recruiting model of spray and pray but I promise, it’s far more successful. Plus, if you mess up – you’ll have blown $10, not $10,000. When this works, widen your net. Spend more to target more people and see if your results are incrementally comparable. Remember, if you targeted 10 people in your first test and had a 90% completion rate, it might not translate to a 100 person test.
  2. At least once a week, or more based on the timeline for your test, search on Twitter for a skill you commonly recruit for. It can be a coding language, for example. Then, click the “live” button at the top of the Twitter search results to see what conversations are happening now about the search term. Respond to at least four people. Respond does not mean “ask them to apply for a job.” It means start a conversation like you might in a bar if you overheard them talking. Follow them. Your network will grow and the next time you reach out, perhaps about a job, there’s a context for the conversation. Context is the most powerful driver of response – always.
  3. Facebook Groups are the best kept secret of social recruiting. Why? For one thing, they’re free. Most importantly, they notify group members every time someone posts, unless they take the time to turn them off. It’s in our psyche to check our notifications so you’ll get more attention that way. Take the time to personally invite only like-minded, all-star candidates to a niche group and treat it like a club. Introduce new members, be selective about membership and award people for great work. What happens next? Well, your group members start to invite other people in their network because this group is adding value and quickly, you have a network that’s growing organically.

Start there, stop reading bad social recruiting content that recommends strategies that don’t follow the rules and feel free to post any questions along the way.

About the Author

Katrina_Kibben_2015Katrina Kibben is the Director of Marketing for RecruitingDaily, and has served in marketing leadership roles at companies such as Monster Worldwide and, where she has helped both established and emerging brands develop and deliver world-class content and social media marketing, lead generation and development, marketing automation and online advertising.

An expert in marketing analytics and automation, Kibben is an accomplished writer and speaker whose work has been featured on sites like, Brazen Careerist and

You can follow Katrina on Twitter @KatrinaKibben or connect with her on LinkedIn.


By Katrina Kibben

RecruitingDaily contributing writer and editor.  I am a storyteller. A tactical problem solver. A curious mind. A data nerd. With that unique filter, I work to craft messages that strategically improve the perceptions and experiences of our clients, the people they employ and the candidates they wish to attract. I methodically review and collect research and insights to offer solution-based recommendations that meet the one-off, and not so one-off, recruiting and employer branding problems of today's global employers.